Can Aikido actually be trained alive?
I tried searching for the answer to this, and the general consensus is that it rarely ever is, but I have yet to see any explanation of how it could be practiced alive. Now, before I continue, please forgive me absolute ignorance of everything grappling related, and even less knowledge of aikido. I'm basing everything on assumptions and hearsay.
From all I've heard about Aikido, the entire purpose is to harmonize with the aggressor and use their "energy" against them. Essentially what I get to be the idea behind BJJ and Judo. The problem I have is the entire idea that there are no "attacks" by definition within the Aikido curriculum beyond the half-assed chops that you see in demonstrations. At least with Judo and BJJ I see people being aggressive with throws, take-downs and reaps.
Ignorami said in another thread that sparring doesn't have a designated aggressor and defender (which I totally agree with), and is meant to be dynamic with both sides taking and losing initiative. How can Aikido's randori be considered sparring in this sense and ever be trained alive, if their version of "sparring" has designated roles?
So back to the original question, can Aikido actually be trained in an alive manner?
Sure it could. All it would take would be for aikidoka to want to train it live. You answered your own question about harmonizing when you mentioned BJJ and judo; Harmony doesn't have to equal meekness. As for having no attacks, aikido does include strikes (supposedly O-Sensei said "Atemi is 90% of aikido") and, again, aikidoka could choose to strike in a non-half-assed fashion. I suspect, though, that the navel-gazing ki hippy contingent in aikido is so large and so entrenched that it won't ever actually happen.
The short answer is no. The longer answer would have to get into the nature of Aikido techniques (a lot of single point of contact/wrist twisty "throws"), the fact that it is generally more of a reactive "self defense" art than a fighting art. Theorectically you could trim the useful/trainable techniques in aikido and infuse them into live sparring, but why bother? It's already been done for us in other arts like Judo, Sand Da, Sambo, BJJ, Wrestling, MMA. Aikido, to me, is an art that evolved in a way that predetermined it's failure. Static, dead drills usuing overly complicated, low percentage techniques against unrealistic attacks resulting in a delusional community of martial artists who worship at the altar of the OMG compliant demo.
O-Sensei might have said that, but the strikes that are shown in videos aren't typical strikes, they are strikes that are meant to be representative of strikes with weapons (assumption based on observation). When I imagine alive Aikido, it just turns into Judo in my head. Reaching and taking a hold of your opponent, that seems pretty Judo-y to me, or even very Brazilian in nature.
Originally Posted by dougguod
If you consult the search function, you’ll readily find videos posted here showing aikidoka sparring with aliveness. It’s relatively rare, but it does happen. The trouble is, these videos bear little to no resemblance to any other aikido videos: none of these single-point-of-contact throws, complicated back-and-forth twists, and what have you. Instead, it tends to end up looking like judo—because that’s what jacketed stand-up grappling with intent looks like—and bad judo at that, because they haven’t worked on it and developed it as judoka have.
There’s also Shodokan aikido (cf. Tomiki aikido), which actually has a shiai component and competitions, though it’s a strange and asymmetric format: the only competition shiai format is tanto randori, i.e. one person armed with a knife against one unarmed person, so that the participants do have designated roles and different restrictions. Still, it is a form of competitive aikido where both participants are trying to win and defeat each other.
Most of the people on these forums who speak (credibly) of getting real mileage out of their aikido in alive training are people with knowledge of a “normal” alive art, such as judo or BJJ, providing them with the basic platform and foundation of sparring, positional control, &c.; to which they are able to add a few twists or tricks out of aikido. It’s even been argued that aikido is actually all about this; that Ueshiba didn’t take on people lacking a solid foundation in jujutsu/judo/whatever and wasn’t attempting to teach a complete martial art, &c. Make of that what you will.
Are there any non-single-point-of-contact throws and techniques in Aikido? I know too many people that swear by the efficacy of wrist locks and throws, but only in highly situational ways.
Originally Posted by Vorpal
Lots of them.
Originally Posted by kdawgious
OTOH yes, Aikido can be trained alive. Shodokan/Tomiki has been mentioned
and there are clubs where alive training is not unusual, for instance:
(more in their YT channel)
I'd go further and say "lots... and lots and lots".
Originally Posted by kdawgious
If you are concentrating on wrist locks and such as the expression of Aikido, you are missing the point. Alas, loads of Aikidoka do exactly that. I hear it and see it from my own students even, and breaks my spirit.
The 'techniques' in most of the standard Aikido syllabus' include a lot of wrist lock finishes, probably because the attacks used to teach Aikido from lend themselves to that outcome.
IMHO, all of that dancing/form/kata, whatever you want to call it should be treated as a means to explaining and experiencing the underlying principle.
I like to think of it as an exploded diagram. You can't make a machine work when everything is so far apart, it just helps you to see how it's supposed to.
As for alive training, well, as Douguod suggests, first it takes the aikido community to want to. Sadly (from a combat perspective), this is increasingly unlikely, because a lack of sparring attracts people who don't want to spar. A couple of generations of that, and no-one in the art wants to.
If you want to train Aikido in an alive manner, the current best option is to take it to another setting (BJJ/Judo/SanDa maybe), and try it out there. Crosstraining is your friend.
I will go out on a limb and say there is little inherently wrong with Aikido technique for fighting. The problem lies in two stages:
1. Trying to apply the means of instruction, instead of the lessons learned.
2. Having no testing ground in which to learn that doing 'point 1' is faulty.
When life gives you lemons... BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!
"what's the best thing about aikido then?"
"To be defeated by your enemies, to be driven by them from the field of battle, and to hear the lamentations of your women." ermghoti
It's generally less pretty and less harmonicky.
As I understand it, there's two kinds of tournaments in the Tomiki style, Tanto (using a knife) and Toshu (which is empty handed). The following is an example of the latter.
Originally Posted by Petter
Does look a little like Judo.
Last edited by Mister; 3/12/2012 1:31pm at .
So what I'm getting from this thread is yes you can practice Aikido live, but there is no point because it just turns into Judo so you might as well take Judo. What a suprising consensus on a Bullshido thread.
It's kind of funny that when TMA try to practice alive it ends up looking like another existing martial art, one that they may criticize for not being practical in real life. I had the same experience in Hapkido. When we sparred standing up it just looked kickboxing, and all those fancy joint locks, the I never had a use for them until I was exposed to submission grappling.